Posts Tagged ‘laundry soap’

Does It Work: Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

As you can see, I have used about 1/2 a gallon of my homemade liquid laundry soap.  That works out to 8 loads so far.  And the burning question on everyone’s mind?

Does it work?

Sort of.  I’ve done whites in hot water, whites in cold water, colors in cold water, and 2 loads of baby clothes in cold water.  Here’s what I’ve found:

1 ) The clothes all smelled clean, as in not funky.

2 ) For the most part the clothes looked clean.  I noticed that the whites looked a tad grungy – not bright, and that some stains merely faded rather than went away.

3) It takes more effort to use than conventional liquid detergent.  You have to really shake the jug up to break up the goo inside and then it slops and splashes into your cup.

4) The recipe used produced almost 3 1/2 gallons of soap.  That’s alot of soap to store and we don’t have much room in this tiny house.

Will I do this again?  Not with this recipe.  Perhaps the Coco Castille soap is too mild to be used for the laundry.  I could try again with Fels-Naptha, which is a true laundry soap bar.  On the other hand, making, using, and storing liquid soap takes more effort than using my tried and true powdered detergent recipe. 

The verdict:  I was not crazy about the liquid soap and how it cleaned.  I love my powder laundry soap recipe and the results I get from that.  I don’t see any reason to make the liquid soap again.

Tutorial: Making Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

After running out of my surprisingly excellent homemade powdered laundry detergent ,I set about making a new batch.  During my research for the powdered detergent, I found that the most popular soaps used were Fels-Naptha, Kirk’s Castile, and Ivory.  For this batch I wanted to try Kirk’s Original Coco Castile Soap.  I quickly found that Kirk’s Castile was too soft for my handy dandy Cuisinart processor to grind and was forced to try a liquid laundry detergent recipe to save the soap I had just mutilated. 

I researched over a dozen recipes online and they all shared the same ingredients:  A bar soap of your choice, Arm &  Hammer Washing Soda, Borax, and water.  The amounts of all ingredients varied with some concoctions ending up more concentrated or more gelatinous than other detergents.  I chose the recipe that had the most positive comments from readers from The Simple Dollar website.  My variation on the recipe is that I used 1 and 1/2 bars of Castile soap versus just 1.  Why?  For the simple fact that I thought my soap looked puny against the Fels-Naptha that I used previously.  Adding the extra 1/2 bar could totally be pointless, but I also didn’t feel it would hurt.

The following is my tutorial on how to make your very own liquid laundry detergent.

Ingredients:  Makes approximately 3 1/4 gallons = 52 cups = 52 loads

1 bar soap
1 C. washing soda
1/2 C. Borax
3 gallons + 4 cups water

1) Grate the soap into fine pieces or shave the soap with a knife into thin strips.

This is the result from putting a soft soap like Kirk’s Castile through a food processor.  The soap closest to the blades was pulverized to dust and then gummed up the machine.  While it wouldn’t work for a powdered laundry soap, which needs consistently sized granules, the soap was fine for melting in a pot.

2) Add 4 cups of water to a saucepan and bring to a nice hot simmer just under the boiling point.

3) Add the soap to the pan.  Let it heat up and melt.

Since I had such big chunks of soap, I improvised and used a whisk to mash the big pieces into smaller ones. 

4) While soap melts on the stove, add 3 gallons of hot water to a bucket.  I used a 2 quart juice container to add the water to a 5 gallon bucket.

5) Add 1 Cup of washing soda and 1/2 Cup of Borax to the hot water in the bucket.  Stir to dissolve.

6)  Add the melted soap mixture from the stove to the bucket and stir well to mix.

It took about 8 minutes to completely dissolve my big soap chunks.

7) Cover your laundry detergent and let set for 24 hours. 

8 ) Transfer detergent to containers, or leave it in the covered bucket.  Stir, shake, or mix the soap prior to each use.  Use 1 Cup of detergent per full-sized load of wash.

Notes:  Most all the research I did pointed to an end product that looked either thick, slightly gloppy, or gelatinous after 24 hours.  Most all detergents needed to be mixed before use due to the slight gelling of the ingredients.  I found that after 24 hours, my mixture did not appear goopy and felt like a very slick and soapy liquid that was slightly thicker than water.  As several days passed, my mixture started to gel. 

I have transferred my detergent to empty milk jugs and have already tested it on some laundry.

Is it worth it?

The total cost of the ingredients in this recipe: $2.69.
Cost per load (1 Cup of final product): $0.05

Gain liquid laundry detergent bottle 32 loads costs $6.99 or $0.22 per load.

Using homemade liquid laundry detergent over Gain I save $0.17 per load.  At 416 loads per year that’s a savings of $70.72.   I’d say that making my own detergent is worth it.

But does it work?  Tune in next week to find out! 

UPDATE 10/26: I have the results posted!

Does It Work: Homemade Powder Laundry Soap

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

I made a batch of powder laundry soap a little bit ago and have used it for about 10 loads of laundry: colors in cold water, whites in hot water. We use an old formula scoop, which equates to 1.5 tablespoons per load. The load is extra large. The soap dissolves easily, within seconds, in both hot and cold water. There has been no staining that I can tell, no lingering funky odors, and the dirt appears to be lifting from the clothes. There is a very slight Fels-Naptha scent to the wet clothes, but that disappears after a turn in the dryer.

Does it work?

Here are the results of the Norton test:

I took two old t-shirts and gunked them up.

The Gain t-shirt:

Everything but the ketchup and mustard came out.

The powder laundry soap:

Everything but the ketchup and mustard came out. (The arrow says “This is paint. Not dirt.”)

Side by side results:

The homemade soap cleaned just as well, if not a little better than Gain. The mustard on the Gain t-shirt is more vivid than the other mustard stain. In person, the ketchup is also slightly more vivid.

My verdict:

This money saving idea is a winner in my book. Since the ketchup and mustard did not come out in the Gain t-shirt, I say that my soap worked as expected. The soap takes 20 minutes max to make and costs pennies per load. We are happy with the results.

Now, does anyone know how to get rid of ketchup and mustard stains??

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